Medal of Honor Mondays: Remembering SFC Paul R. Smith, a Hero Who Gave His Life for His Country
On April 4, 2003, Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. During the Battle of Baghdad, Smith and his 11-man squad were tasked with defending a vital supply route.
When the enemy launched a fierce attack, Smith fearlessly charged forward, leading his men in a counterattack. Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, Smith and his squad managed to repel the enemy and protect the supply route.
Smith’s heroic actions that day earned him the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States. He was the first soldier to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Iraq War.
Smith was born in Florida in 1969. He enlisted in the Army in 1989 and served in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a highly decorated soldier, having earned the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Smith was a devoted husband and father of two.
He was known for his strong work ethic and his commitment to his family. He was also known for his sense of humor and his ability to make people laugh.
On the day of the battle, Smith and his squad were outnumbered by more than 100 enemy fighters. Despite the odds, Smith fearlessly charged forward, leading his men in a counterattack.
He single-handedly destroyed two enemy tanks and killed more than 20 enemy fighters. Smith’s actions that day saved the lives of his men and allowed them to complete their mission. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery and selflessness.
Smith’s story is a powerful reminder of the courage and sacrifice of our nation’s heroes. He gave his life so that others could live. His courage and selflessness will never be forgotten.
Take a moment to remember SFC Paul R. Smith and all of the brave men and women who have served our country. They are true heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:
Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with an armed enemy near Baghdad International Airport, Baghdad, Iraq on 4 April 2003. On that day, Sergeant First Class Smith was engaged in the construction of a prisoner of war holding area when his Task Force was violently attacked by a company-sized enemy force. Realizing the vulnerability of over 100 fellow soldiers, Sergeant First Class Smith quickly organized a hasty defense consisting of two platoons of soldiers, one Bradley Fighting Vehicle and three armored personnel carriers. As the fight developed, Sergeant First Class Smith braved hostile enemy fire to personally engage the enemy with hand grenades and anti-tank weapons, and organized the evacuation of three wounded soldiers from an armored personnel carrier struck by a rocket propelled grenade and a 60mm mortar round. Fearing the enemy would overrun their defenses, Sergeant First Class Smith moved under withering enemy fire to man a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a damaged armored personnel carrier. In total disregard for his own life, he maintained his exposed position in order to engage the attacking enemy force. During this action, he was mortally wounded. His courageous actions helped defeat the enemy attack, and resulted in as many as 50 enemy soldiers killed, while allowing the safe withdrawal of numerous wounded soldiers. Sergeant First Class Smith's extraordinary heroism and uncommon valor are in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, the Third Infantry Division "Rock of the Marne," and the United States Army.
Image credits: Wikimedia.org and ArlingtonCemetery.net